Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs See Secret Iraq Papers as No 10 Piles Pressure on BBC

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs See Secret Iraq Papers as No 10 Piles Pressure on BBC

Article excerpt

Byline: CHARLES REISS;JOE MURPHY

DOWNING STREET today tried to nail the BBC in their venomous row by handing MPs hitherto top-secret evidence about the controversial dossier on Iraq.

The papers were said to include confidential memos between Alastair Campbell and intelligence chiefs, supposedly clearing him of leaning on them to exaggerate Saddam Hussein's weapons capability.

But the bundle is not thought to include one of the most critical pieces of evidence which many Labour backbenchers have asked to be published - the secret first draft of the dossier which claimed that Saddam possessed chemical shells which could be fired at 45 minutes' notice.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will be grilled about the papers' contents in a private session with the foreign affairs committee for a probe into claims that No10 "sexed up" the dossier.

The new move comes after two days of unprecedented warring between Mr Campbell and the BBC over reports that he pressured intelligence chiefs to insert the 45-minute claim a week before the dossier was published in September last year. …

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